CES this year was well-attended; and, fortunately, Fonzie stayed home. The show didn’t jump the shark, despite many predictions to the contrary. Major players like Microsoft, which did not attend CES other than for a quick (surprise!) appearance, have pulled out, leaving the hall to newer, innovative technologies seeking attention and awareness for their products. In fact, one entire hall was filled with early-stage companies launching truly original and inspired products.

The usual range of strange and wonderful “gadgets” made their impressions (including some from Airfoil clients like Parrot), and it’s really easy at a show as large and stimulating as CES to immerse yourself in the cool details of individual technologies, and miss the big picture. But, in addition to be being outright tech nerd smitten with each new display, I’m able to see that this year’s show was about more than cool devices…it was about important (and, yes, cool) new trends:

  • Big product announcements around the way that tablets and ultra-lights are forever changing desktop computing as we know it. These devices will require hardware and components to adapt to not only touchscreen technologies but also gesture-based computing and higher-pixel-density screens (Ultra HD). Companies to watch: SAMSUNG, LENOVO and NVIDIA
  • The intersection of automotive and technology now is jammed with new offerings. Audi, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus and Subaru—eight of the top 10 manufacturers, from what I could see–were on the CES show floor. CEA industry forecasts predict sales of factory-installed vehicle technologies will increase by 11.3 percent in 2013 to nearly $8.7 billion. Companies to watch: FORD, DELPHI, and GOOGLE (Google’s driverless car drove 300,000 miles last year without an accident!)